A few blogs ago, we shared the data results of traditional media channels perceived effectiveness among business owners in the Nielsen 2022 Annual Marketing report. It showed Linear TV as the top choice in advertiser confidence at 47%, and AM/FM Radio had 41%, the lowest number among all channels, traditional and digital, while Social Media marketing had the highest score of 64%.

In this month’s blog, I want to dig a bit deeper into some other research studies about these top and bottom traditional media channels and share some of the thought-provoking results with you.

About the top traditional channel – TV

 A 2022 Nielsen ‘State of Play’ survey tells us that between January and September, 98% of the most viewed live broadcast TV programming was Sports. Ninety-Eight. Percent. Covid hits…No live sports…people are sheltering in place, and other on-demand sources of video entertainment explode! If you ever wondered why there was such a push to get live sports back, here’s your answer. Now, if you’ve ever used Linear TV advertising, you know it can be very effective. But it’s also a ‘get what you pay for’ medium, and with live sports programming especially, it costs you, but you get that captive game-watching audience who can’t always be visiting the kitchen or restroom during every commercial break. I’ll cite the Coinbase commercial from the 2022 Superbowl, which featured a bouncing QR code on screen for 60 seconds and cost a LOT of coin…$13 million dollars. It got 20 million scans to the Coinbase website landing page in one minute and crashed their site, getting 6 times the traffic predicted.

That same Nielsen survey says the typical person watches nearly 5 hours of TV per day (Four hours and 49 minutes). Let’s break that out a bit:

  • 2:53 of that is live TV
  • :34 minutes is shifted TV (programs watched after initial live airing, either recorded or VOD, Video On-Demand)
  • 1:22 is TV connected devices (streaming programming, CTV)

Now, let’s touch that dial and switch station to terrestrial radio!

About the bottom traditional channel – AM/FM Radio

 A wealth of information was shared in the 2022 Jacobs Media Tech Survey, which polled almost 31,000 radio station listeners from across the US and Canada from all format genres, music and talk radio included. Their survey revealed that 86% of people spent at least one hour a day with radio, down from 92% in the 2018 survey.

Those polled noted that the top programming reason they listen to the radio is, for the 4th year in a row, the on-air personalities, after 14 previous years of music always being the top chosen reason. Going back to the 2014 survey, music was tops at 70% vs personalities 57%. Three years later, it was 66%/56% still favoring music. 2018 closed that gap to 60%/58%, and personalities overtook music in the 2019 survey and now have a 7% lead, 62%/55%. The personality appeal ranks highest among women and with members of Gen X and Y, ages 27 to 57. The bottom reason given why people listen to radio? ‘Playing contests to win prizes’ at 11%.

Because the most frequent radio listening is done in the car, the survey also noted that when asked, “What’s the most important feature on a new car for you?” ‘Bluetooth Connectivity’ outranked ‘FM Radio’ for the first time in the survey’s 18-year history. Radio is doing its best to counter this, with their own free Apps where you can stream their stations from your phone, and from anywhere. Traditional means of using an actual radio to listen sits at 61%, while streaming the station digitally, through an App, computer or smart speaker, sits at 35%. 

Traditional AM/FM radio listening overall is still significant, but gradually and noticeably trending down, as listeners’ total usual time spent in the car is now shorter post-pandemic (commute times, lifestyle changes and the advent of ‘work from home’, all of which have seemingly permanently adjusted routines) and based on the emergence of the in-high-demand Bluetooth access/connected car for listening to other platforms (Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Podcasts, Sirius XM, and, because I still use one occasionally, Mp3 players). 

In short, AM/FM radio has a literal swarm of competition in this digital galaxy of audio entertainment. It’s still a relevant and effective local marketing element that can increase your brand visibility and store traffic when planned strategically and used correctly. Let the seasoned experts at CMOco help guide you in planning effective radio marketing campaigns! 

We’ll be back, with another blog, right after these messages…

– Bruce Thiem, CMOco Director of Integrated Media